Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Heart Disease Patients Carrying Extra Pounds Do Better, Live Longer

Date:
May 19, 2009
Source:
American College of Cardiology
Summary:
Being overweight or obese is a leading contributor to cardiovascular disease (CVD) and associated risk factors; however, in patients with established CVD, obesity appears to play a protective role. In fact, data suggest obese patients with heart disease do better and tend to live longer than leaner patients with the same severity of disease.

Being overweight or obese is a leading contributor to cardiovascular disease (CVD) and associated risk factors; however, in patients with established CVD, obesity appears to play a protective role. In fact, data suggest obese patients with heart disease do better and tend to live longer than leaner patients with the same severity of disease, according to a review article published in the May 26, 2009, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

"Obese patients with heart disease respond well to treatment and have paradoxically better outcomes and survival than thinner patients," said Carl Lavie, M.D., F.A.C.C., medical director of Cardiac Rehabilitation and Prevention, Ochsner Medical Center, New Orleans, LA and lead author of the article. "Although these patients have a more favorable short- and long-term prognosis, we don't yet understand the mechanisms for why this might be the case."

The obesity paradox in patients with CVD, which was first noticed earlier this decade, is complex. It is likely due to a combination of obesity's impact on fat cells and other metabolic processes (e.g., insulin resistance, glucose metabolism, metabolic syndrome), as well as other consequences of being obese. Dr. Lavie speculates that excess weight may be somewhat protective because these patients have more reserves to fight disease than thinner patients. Another explanation might be that obese patients present with problems earlier due to physical deconditioning (being out of shape) and other non-cardiovascular symptoms and, therefore, have the opportunity to be diagnosed with milder disease.

Although obese patients appear to experience fewer cardiovascular events and have better survival rates, Dr. Lavie is quick to caution that patients with heart disease shouldn't incorrectly assume that gaining weight is the answer.

"Obesity is often what's causing high blood pressure, blockages in arteries, and increased risk of sudden death in the first place. Such excess weight has adverse effects on all of the major cardiovascular risk factors and has increased the prevalence of heart disease," he said. "Taken together, most studies are supportive of purposeful weight loss for preventing and treating cardiovascular disease."

Health-promoting behaviors to stay active and lose weight can also confer benefits beyond initial heart disease. For example, patients who are overweight or obese are at heightened risk of diabetes, which can further complicate treatment and outcomes. Patients who make sustained lifestyle changes, including regular exercise and some weight reduction through a reduction in calories, cut their risk of developing diabetes by roughly 60 percent.

"Obesity is skyrocketing in America and if this continues, we may see an unfortunate reversal to what has been a steady increase in life expectancy," says Dr. Lavie. "We need more research: first to prevent obesity in the first place; second, to intervene early enough so that patients who are overweight or obese won't develop heart disease; and then to better understand why these patients have a better prognosis once they have heart disease. Perhaps this information could lead to benefits for all patients, including patients with heart disease who aren't overweight or obese."

According to authors, obesity may soon overtake tobacco use as the leading cause of preventable death in the United States if current trends continue. Nearly 7 out of 10 adults are classified as overweight or obese. In adults, overweight is defined as a body mass index (BMI) 25 to 29.9 kg/m2 and obesity as BMI =30 kg/m2. Other indices that have been used less commonly, but possibly with more predictive power include body fatness, waist circumference (WC), waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), and weight-to-height ratio.

"Clinicians should emphasize to patients the importance of achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, as well as benefits that can be obtained from restricting their intake of calories and getting regular exercise of 30 to 40 minutes on most, if not all, days," said Dr. Lavie.

He and his co-authors report no conflicts of interest.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American College of Cardiology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American College of Cardiology. "Heart Disease Patients Carrying Extra Pounds Do Better, Live Longer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 May 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090518172654.htm>.
American College of Cardiology. (2009, May 19). Heart Disease Patients Carrying Extra Pounds Do Better, Live Longer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090518172654.htm
American College of Cardiology. "Heart Disease Patients Carrying Extra Pounds Do Better, Live Longer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090518172654.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

AP (July 22, 2014) Two federal appeals courts issued conflicting rulings Tuesday on the legality of the federally-run healthcare exchange that operates in 36 states. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Newsy (July 22, 2014) Boston scientists have discovered a new way to create fully functioning human platelets using a bioreactor and human stem cells. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) New research shows Gilead Science's drug Sovaldi helps in curing hepatitis C in those who suffer from HIV. In a medical study, the combination of Gilead's Hep C drug with anti-viral drug Ribavirin cured 76% of HIV-positive patients suffering from the most common hepatitis C strain. Hepatitis C and related complications have been a top cause of death in HIV-positive patients. Typical medication used to treat the disease, including interferon proteins, tended to react badly with HIV drugs. However, Sovaldi's %1,000-a-pill price tag could limit the number of patients able to access the treatment. TheStreet's Keris Lahiff reports from New York. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins